Twelve-year-old Maia Quinn's heard her mother say that Grunewald, their family’s hometown, is a magical place. Now she finally gets to see for herself what all the fuss is about. Only the part about magic may be quite literal, and the timing of Maia’s visit might not be coincidental. I do like this hook better (and the rewording of the last sentence works better, I think). I'm sure others might disagree and that's fine...it's all so subjective. I suggest doing what YOU think works best, regardless of what any of us think. ;)
The family's ancient mansion holds many secrets: wallpaper images inexplicably spring to life, eerie eyes that stare at one out of the darkness. And the caretaker is actually a kobold, a powerfully magical creature, who’s feeling vengeful over being unappreciated. Yes! I like this use of secrets much, much better. This paragraph sets the tone for your query, I think (and sets the tone for your book...and since I've been lucky enough to read your book, I know this is a good reflection of what your MS has to offer). Nicely done!
The kobold’s tricked the local chocolate maker into helping him initiate a spell to release the Raven Spirits. Trapped by Maia’s ancestors in a parallel realm, the mansion is the seal on their doorway. Freeing them puts Grunewald in deadly peril, but only a Quinn can open the way, and the kobold plans to use Maia for the final stage of the spell.
Fortunately, Maia’s not alone. Three unlikely friends come to her aid – a boy everyone believes a thief; a mysterious giant green hound who’s been terrorizing the town; and a girl whose bravery is surpassed only by her recklessness. Together, they must outwit the kobold and seal the doorway again, before the shortest night of the year is over and the spell becomes final.
THE KOBOLD OF TWELVE POPLARS is a middle grade fantasy, complete at 72,000 words.
I love this. :) The last paragraph especially...all the "misfits" (for lack of a better word) gives Maia's predicament a cute, funny twist.
Two thumbs up from me!